Sunday, April 27, 2014

Look at the new peeps in our house!

We got the call Thursday that our new peeps had arrived at the post office. Chickens in the mail? Yep, we received the cutest fuzzy chicks from that Z~girl had ordered and paid for with her own money months ago. Let me say...she has been counting the days since she ordered them! It was overnight delivery and when we opened the box at the post office to check out the cheeping box I think it was the first time the peeps had really "seen" each other. They promptly began pecking each other. I remember when we got our other chickens last year Z and I being mortified that one of the chicks kept pecking all the other chicks in the eye. I guess if something moves chicks will peck at it!

I must add that normally you are not supposed to handle newborn chicks a lot and if you do you need to wash your hands well before and after. They also have to have some antibiotic drops in their water for the first little bit to make sure that they do not have any diseases. I took the opportunity to do some individual photos though as Z transferred them to their temporary "crib". Words cannot describe how cute they are and so fun to watch!


It seems like when the weather gets nice we automatically go into un-school mode...which is evidenced by our week of chicks and hiking. 

Sports are also back into the schedule of events which A~man loves for the social aspect and Z~girl loves for the sport itself. She is very competitive to say the least. 

A~man didn't get a whole lot of sit down work done this week. Not because of him but because of how the week went. Z~girl has a very driven personality and likes to get her school work done early. She has us wake her up at 6:50 am every morning so she can do her school work. (I can barely pry my eyes open at that time!) She did her school work every day except the day she did her volunteer work. (which I totally count as "school") 

I have to do a brag as the last year or so my duo do not get along very well most days...sadly. They used to be the best of friends but I am sure with the cognitive difference between them growing they are at completely different levels/interests. 

Later in the week I had been doing my online work, we ate lunch and I was about to help A~man do his school work including his vocabulary game that I had scheduled. Z said "How about I help him with his school work and you go take a nap?" I'm serious here folks, she said that. After I was able to get the stunned look off my face I decided -YES I am going to go take a nap!

They were just finishing up his school work when I got up from nap. They were getting along. Afterwards, she decided to take him outside (I haven't let him be outside without us alone since he ran away).They were out there for at least an hour watching the chickens and talking. (I was looking outside periodically) I so wish I would have taken a picture of that but instead I bottled up that wonderful memory in my head to remember on the days that aren't quite as wonderful between the two. Later, Z even said how much fun she had with A~man...the positive reinforcement from her went a long way for him. 

I am so completely blessed!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Our Spring Break Do Over

Last week we decided to try having another spring break. Well it started out with Lucy the chicken dying in Z~girls arms. The awfulness of that is described over in my hubby's blog so I won't rehash it here. Thankfully, we will be getting 7 more chicks in the mail to add to our brood this week, so that will be fun! We decided to order through the mail so that we were able to get a specific selection of breeds. It is quite a mix!

When I planned last week out I looked at the weather and although it was supposed to have a couple rainy days, the weekend was going to be clear and sunny. After the last 5 months that we have had you would think I would have learned that the weather can change and WILL change. We had planned on getting a cabin at our favorite camping spot and spending Saturday night and then going to the Easter service at the campground. It poured and thankfully we stayed home. We spent Sunday dying eggs and cooking dinner for the grandparents when they came over that night. All in all it was a very nice day despite the change of plans. So now I'm looking at the weather again...trying to figure out the warmest day to go camping.

Cuddle time

Oh,one very good thing that happened last week was that we were able to observe the birth of two baby goats at the place where Z~girl volunteers. She (and we) have wanted to see it for a couple of years. Hubby and I have both seen animals being born but the kids hadn't and it was beyond words AWESOME!  The goat, Addie, did start to have some complications so they called a vet to come help deliver but it was so neat to watch! Surely I can count that day as a "homeschool day" right? 

Today I have designated teacher work day. We pretty much homeschool year around but we do our annual testing in June and then take off July until the second week of August. (we have 3 birthdays within that time) Well, I should say Z~girl has that time off but we normally keep up with some things with A~man as he has a harder time entertaining himself and then ends up getting in trouble. LOL I'll probably do a unit study for him during that time. So I need to plan out the next 2+ months before that. Z~girl is about to try out a writing class through Time4Writing before the end of the school year and I would also like to look at some homeschool science reviews to determine what we may need for next year. I would appreciate any suggestions for science! 

Well, I am off to make another cup of coffee, warm up some yummy Easter leftovers, and get started with my lesson plans. It is a beautiful day so I am hoping for a LONG walk in the sun. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

There is a Chicken Bathing in my Livingroom

It has been an interesting morning. Not many people can say they have a chicken bathing in their living-room. But Lucy is here being taken care of by a very attentive Z~girl.

We think she is egg-bound. Z~girl who keeps very careful count of how many eggs each hen lays (she has the exact count written in a book from when they first started laying) and she is pretty sure Lucy hasn't laid in a couple of days. She observed that she kept laying down and not wanting to walk around plus her comb and wattles are a very pale red which isn't normal for her. Surely we can count this as supplementary enrichment of our science curriculum? Haha!

Seriously though, the hands on care she provides for our chickens, rabbits, and dog will go a long way in learning so much more than any homeschool elementary or public school science education would. Both A and Z learn so much more with having so much hands on experiences in addition to their homeschool curriculum. I also think I will order some poultry 4-H curriculum for Z~girl so she can continue to learn more. 

I'll do an update later on how she is doing. Our chickens are more like pets than just "farm animals", as we would never eat any of our chickens. (or rabbits!) Let me just say that I am VERY thankful that we have wood floors in our livingroom.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Don't Compare

As I gear up for a busy week of Geography club, working on our matchbox swaps, and also doing our art curriculum I thought it would be the perfect time to revisit a blog post I did over at Time4Learning last year.

Most parents know not to compare their children to one another as each child is an individual with different challenges and different strengths. The same holds true with your own family's homeschool. There is not one correct way to homeschool in my opinion. Each child most likely has a different personality and learning style from their siblings and the parent/s that teach that child also have things that they are good at and things that are more difficult for them.

We have been homeschooling for 7+ years and I wish that I had known early on not to compare how we do things with other families. I guess the exception would be when asking input or advice of another family that may have gone through something similar. Both my husband and I have had a few people over the years make comments like "I'm sure you do a lot more with your children than we do." How would they know this? They don't. Somehow they have gotten a preconceived notion from observing us.

I've also gotten the comment many times, "I could never homeschool a child with special needs, I do not know how you do it." In reality, I think most people could do it if they thought it was the only way their child could get an appropriate education. Which was the case for us. They usually do not see the occasional bad days we have where we are just doing our best to deal with behaviors and doctor appointments. Honestly some days are survival mode, LOL. We pretty much homeschool year round for this very reason. This allows a day off from educational lessons when other special need issues arise, as they often can. It also allows for a spontaneous trip when we all need a break, rather than when most people take a break. (summer)

Yet, I have done the same thing comparing our homeschool to others! I will see a family with many children (I just have two) and I will think silently, that the mom must possess extra super powers that I do not have. I admit I have been a bit jealous of families that do not have to deal with special needs challenges even though I wouldn't trade it for the world. I'm also sometimes envious of some of my friends that are talented at teaching co-op classes, scout groups, and group activities in their home, as that is not where my talent is.

All of this is what makes homeschooling so ideal! We learn our children's learning styles and our own teaching styles. We are able to let our children actively pursue their own interests and talents without being burdened by typical public school hours. After awhile we figure out what works best for our own individual families and adapt when changes need to be made. When we are involved in group activities with friends we can combine our talents with other families and share our talents with them.

Has there ever been a time you have compared your homeschool to another family and not felt up to par?